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Comments Posted By bhakta edwin

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IF THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD WHY ARE THERE SO MANY RELIGIONS?

I enjoyed this article very much, but I fear it came off in a rather negative tone. It seems to deal with the cheating propensity of man-made religions, rather than the authority of bonafide processes which have been established by Krishna in different times, places, and circumstances. My fear is to see the Hare Krishna movement also become very elitist in it’s perception of other processes; this can lead to disdain for others who may have just as much love and devotion to God, but simply call different names and prayers or follow a different process. For instance, Lord Jesus stated his followers should love God with all their heart, mind, and strength, and love their neighbor as themselves. Surely this is not any different than when Krishna explains that we should abandon all varieties of religion and surrender unto Him. If a christian is sincerely trying to follow, can we rightfully put them at a lower level than a gaudiya-vaishnava sincerely trying to have all that they do and give away be done for Krishna? Or take this example – here’s an orthodox jew who loved the reggae style of music, so he decided to make a song about his praying to God. Is this so far away from what we are trying to do? Note in the lyrics these phrases (or just take this example, if you prefer not to hear the song):
Strip away the layers and reveal your soul
Got to give yourself up and then you become whole
You’re a slave to yourself and you don’t even know
You want to live the fast life but your brain moves slow
If you’re trying to stay high then you’re bound to stay low
You want God but you can’t deflate your ego

» Posted By bhakta edwin On May 6, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

A jiva perspective

In response to comment 2:

Dear Prabhu,

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada. In your comment, you bring up some very nice points, and I hope that I can help clarify some of them through quotes and my own realizations.

“It seems like a rather severe reaction, that we should be eternally conditioned, immersed in misery for countless lifetimes (bg 8.16) because we supposedly tinged our eternal loving service with a moment of envy, when we cannot even fathom how such envy could have existed. It’s hard to believe that Krishna was unable to think of a more gentle way of addressing this problem, but here we are.” I would agree, seeing it from this point of view, but consider this as well: Krishna, in His merciful love, gives His devotees what they want. “This body is a gift from God. God is very kind, and if someone wants something from Him, He allows it. “All right,” He says. “Take this.” His relationship to us is just like the relationship of a father to a son. The son may insist upon getting something from the father, and the father may try to convince him that what he wants is not for his good, saying, “My dear son, don’t touch this. This is not good for you.” But when the boy insists upon it, the father will allow him to have it. The affectionate father gives the son just what he wants. Similarly, the Supreme Father gives His sons and daughters just what they want.” – Elevation to Krishna Consciousness, Ch. 3
Coming to the material was what WE – the living entity wanted. Why did we want this? My realization is that the living entity, somehow or other, became desirous of being the center – being the enjoyer. Since EVERYTHING in the spiritual world is focused on Krishna’s enjoyment, this particular living entity became desirous of going somewhere where Krishna’s enjoyment wasn’t the sole focus – the material world. It is now up to us to realize that this is not actually a good thing to want, and thus return to desiring Krishna’s enjoyment whereupon we return to spiritual existence. Or we can remain desirous of our own enjoyment, and Krishna will continue to sadly (but lovingly) illusion us so that we may remain here.

“I can’t even understand what “at some point” means in the context of eternity in the spiritual world. Given that time does not pass away in Vaikuntha (Brahma Samhita 5.56) I can’t imagine how such a incompatible mood could arise there or how the jivas being expelled to wander in eternal misery could cause that desire there to perish.” The nature of time in the spiritual world quite often perplexes me, and mostly I resign the complex subject to the “find out when you get there” bin. Keeping in mind, however, that time does not “pass” there (everything is eternally in the Now), these so-called millions of material lifetimes are not actually going to feel like anything at all when we return to spiritual consciousness. It takes less time than a day dream. Just like one can go days and days and even years in a dream, but then wake up to find only a hour has passed. Still, you are right that we shouldn’t want or even accept the length of time we are here in material existence – let’s get out as soon as possible!

“Also, in one sense it is alright to say that we “somehow” desired to enjoy separately from Krishna because among the myriad jivas there may be many individual reasons. However I have never heard a single plausible reason, nor can I imagine one. This is especially troublesome because it seems to contradict the jiva’s purity, Krishna’s attractiveness, and the nature of bhakti in the spiritual world.” I heard a lecture where Radhanath Maharaja was relaying an answer he heard from Srila Prabhupada as to why the jiva soul would ever accept the material energy over the energetic source. The answer was quite simple, “Just like, someone is eating some halavah, and they might still want some puffed rice.” That’s it! That’s the whole answer!

Because we are qualitatively the same as Krishna, we also have the quality of independence, but because we are quantitatively different, our independence is severely limited. Krishna is the Supreme independent – He can do anything He wants, anytime He wants. We are infinitesimal independents – our free will lies really in only one choice. We can serve the internal energy, or we can serve the external energy. Still, the choice is there and some will use that independence to come under the influence of maya. Why would we choose this? Because we wanted some puffed rice. The jiva is still pure, but instantly from the contact with material energy there is the chance that the jiva forgets how to return to spiritual consciousness. Even in this covered state, the soul can never be considered as impure, or mixed with the material energy – even though it is under the influence of maya. In the Fifth Canto, Jada Bharata instructs this to King Rahugana.

As for the attractiveness of Krishna, there is no reason to doubt this at all! Think about it – the living entity is serving the internal or the external energy, but BOTH energies are stemming from Krishna. So no matter which energy a soul is infatuated with with, it can be said that they are attracted to Krishna. Krishna is All-Attractive!! As for the nature of bhakti, I am unfortunately not so intelligent that I can understand both what you mean and how to answer.

» Posted By bhakta edwin On Mar 29, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

Dear Prabhu,

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada. Thank you very much for this look into the “timeline” of the jiva’s descent into the material world. I was hoping, however, that you could provide some scriptural back-ups for what you have said, that or quotes from Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas. I have never heard, for instance, that before coming under the influence of the mahat tattva that the jiva goes into the brahma-jyoti. Also, as an slight editorial note, there are actually twelve relationships that the jiva can have with the Supreme Person: five direct, and seven indirect.

“Invoking auspiciousness: Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, the reservoir of all rasas, or relationships, which are called neutrality (passive adoration), servitorship, friendship, parenthood, conjugal love, comedy, compassion, fear, chivalry, ghastliness, wonder and devastation.” NoD Introduction

“Another message was once sent to Krishna informing Him that after He had killed Kamsa, one of Kamsa’s demon friends had gone insane. This demon was foaming at the mouth, waving his arms and rolling on the ground. This demoniac demonstration is in relationship with Krishna in a ghastly humor. This mellow or flavor is one of the indirect relationships with Krishna. The first five kinds of relationships are called direct, and the other seven are called indirect. Some way or other, the demon must have had some relationship with Krishna, because these symptoms developed when he heard that Krishna had already killed Kamsa. Srila Rupa Gosvami remarks that there is also transcendental excellence in this kind of symptom.” NoD Ch.29

» Posted By bhakta edwin On Mar 26, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

A Response to Hridayananda das Goswami’s “Vaisnava Moral Theology and Homosexuality”

Dear Prabhus,

Thank you for having me look closer into the life of Ramanuja Acharya. I searched in the Vedabase, and came upon the story of angering his guru in “A Ray of Vishnu.” Here, it mentions that the teacher is not Yamuna Acharya, but Yadavaprakasha – a famous professor of the time who lived in Kanchi. It also mentions that yes, this professor was explaining the passage as told by Shankaracharya.

» Posted By bhakta edwin On Jan 31, 2007 @ 11:48 pm

As for an example of a disciple directly challenging his guru, the first example that comes to mind is Ramanuja Acharya and his guru Yamunacharya. On two occasions that I know he challenged his guru and went against his wishes: once when given a confidential mantra, only to shout it to the common villagers, and once when hearing his guru liken the color of Krishna’s lotus feet to a monkey’s bottom. While this is not our sampradaya, there is no doubt that Ramanuja Acharya can be taken as instruction, although I do not encourage anyone to consider themselves in the same position as such a uniquely amazing soul.

The second example is a more classic pastime in our line of teaching – Bali Maharaja disobeying the order of his guru Sukra Acharya. Again, we see a disciple rejecting his guru when given an order that is against sanatana-dharma, but whether this is a comparable situation can be taken into question. Is HH Hridayananda Maharaja’s suggestions on gay monogmy the same as Sukra Acharya’s order to reject the request of Krishna?

» Posted By bhakta edwin On Jan 30, 2007 @ 2:58 am

A Sporting Chance?

Dear Prabhu,

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I would like to humbly add that Srila Prabhupada also mentioned swimming and wrestling as Vaishnava sports, the reason for my addition being that these are actually my favorite physical activities. Swimming can also be done competetively (if one has that propensity), but I prefer to simply do laps, or just spend a day swimming with friends and family. Wrestling – aside from folkstyle which most people would know (that’s what they do in American highschools and in the Olympics), there’s also submission wrestling where instead of “pinning” an opponent, you get them to “tap” or surrender, Judo, Brazilian Jui-Juitsu, Russian Sambo, Chinese Shooto, etc.

One could also show how any sort of the martial art schools is a form of wrestling (read the description of the fights between Krishna, Balarama, Canura and Mustika), but I especially recommend the wrestling or grappling arts because they emphasis more “alive” training, or basically sparring with someone who is actually trying to beat you. I see a close corrolary between this alive training and the admonition in bhakti-yoga to avoid being armchair speculators or simply sentimentalists. Swimming and wrestling are also nice in the fact that – like spirituality – many people can help you and train you, but these are activities that will succeed or fail only on your will to train.

In any case, I simply wanted to mention the sports out there that don’t require a ball.

» Posted By bhakta edwin On Jan 16, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

THREE QUARTERS ENERGY

This seems a good post to ask this question: it refers to the supposed size of other “suns.”

We understand from the 5th Canto that the universe is egg-shaped, the center of which is bhu-mandala. Bhu-mandala is disk-shaped with an inverted cone at the center. Around this central disk is located the sun planet, which rotates around the pole-star axis.

What I want to bring up is that this is a fairly accurate description of what the “Milky Way galaxy” looks like: disk shaped, the sun is located off-center, and there is a stream of “energy” detected pouring out from the middle in the relative shape of an inverted cone.

In various ISKCON Vedic astronomy books, I have heard the 5th canto descriptions to be describing Earth, the worlds of the demigods, and the solar system.

My question is this – could this description also be of the entire galaxy? If so, then could we view other galaxies as in fact what the Srimad-Bhagavatam calls other universes?

I’ve given my reasons to ask, now here are my problems with this:

If this is so, then we would be saying that there is technology now to see outside the elemental coverings of the universe – I am loathe to say such a thing.

The dimensions do not add up – if we take the description of the galaxy as accurate, then to say it is only 4 billion miles across will not be accepted – there would have to be a way to reconcile such a difference in distance.

There is no description of why the Earth rotates around the sun, and yet Bharata-vars is described as being so close to the center of bhu-mandala – relatively far from the sun.

A second question, less important, recurres within me as to where such extreme measurments come from in the first place. Granted the method of measurment is flawed, the people measuring are prone to cheat and become illusioned, and in any material process mistakes are made, but instead of wondering whether they are flawed can anyone give an answer as to how they become so flawed? One answer suggested to me was that in the 5th canto it mentions a ring of land just outside the seven circular islands that is made entirely of gold. The reflections from such a land – subtle in natue most likely – could easily send back confusing and distorted data to relatively microscopic humans whose only method of research is with electromagnetic beams.

In any case, I would simply be glad to hear of a response to these questions.

» Posted By bhakta edwin On Jan 14, 2007 @ 1:32 am

The Adventurous Govardhan Parikrama

Jai Prabhu, thank you for the mental tour around Sri Govardhana. I love to walk, and I look forward very much to the day that I can make these walks an act of worship to Sri Krishna in the form of Govardhana Hill.

» Posted By bhakta edwin On Dec 26, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

IS GOD MALE OR FEMALE?

Dear Chaitanya Charan Prabhu,

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I liked very much your explanation, and immediately thought of the section of the CC I am reading right now. Please allow me to add some nice quotes to what you have written:

Radha and Krishna are one and the same, but They have assumed two bodies. Thus They enjoy each other, tasting the mellows of love.

PURPORT
The two transcendentalists Radha and Krishna are a puzzle to materialists. The above description of Radha and Krishna from the diary of Srila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami is a condensed explanation, but one needs great spiritual insight to understand the mystery of these two personalities. One is enjoying in two. Sri Krishna is the potent factor, and Srimati Radharani is the internal potency. According to Vedanta philosophy, there is no difference between the potent and the potency; they are identical. We cannot differentiate between one and the other, any more than we can separate fire from heat.
Everything in the Absolute is inconceivable in relative existence. Therefore in relative cognizance it is very difficult to assimilate this truth of the oneness between the potent and the potency. The philosophy of inconceivable oneness and difference propounded by Lord Caitanya is the only source of understanding for such intricacies of transcendence.
In fact, Radharani is the internal potency of Sri Krishna, and She eternally intensifies the pleasure of Sri Krishna. Impersonalists cannot understand this without the help of a maha-bhagavata devotee. The very name “Radha” suggests that Srimati Radharani is eternally the topmost mistress of the comforts of Sri Krishna. As such, She is the medium transmitting the living entities’ service to Sri Krishna. Devotees in Vrindavana therefore seek the mercy of Srimati Radharani in order to be recognized as loving servitors of Sri Krishna. – Adi-Lila 4.56

Srimati Radharani is as fully spiritual as Krishna. No one should consider Her to be material. She is definitely not like the conditioned souls, who have material bodies, gross and subtle, covered by material senses. She is all-spiritual, and both Her body and Her mind are of the same spiritual embodiment. Because Her body is spiritual, Her senses are also spiritual. Thus Her body, mind and senses fully shine in love of Krishna. She is the personified hladini-sakti (the pleasure-giving energy of the Lord’s internal potency), and therefore She is the only source of enjoyment for Sri Krishna.
Sri Krishna cannot enjoy anything that is internally different from Him. Therefore Radha and Sri Krishna are identical. The sandhini portion of Sri Krishna’s internal potency has manifested the all-attractive form of Sri Krishna, and the same internal potency, in the hladini feature, has presented Srimati Radharani, who is the attraction for the all-attractive. No one can match Srimati Radharani in the transcendental pastimes of Sri Krishna. – Adi-lila 4.71 puport

» Posted By bhakta edwin On Dec 20, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

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